Solar Irradiance Mapping Initiative (SIMI)

The researchers in this project, at UC Merced and UC Davis, have set up two experimental solar stations, one on each campus, that are equipped with highly sensitive instruments that can independently measure direct normal solar irradiance (DNI), global solar irradiance (GSI), and the total combination of the two (called local-global irradiance). The solar data collected at those ground stations are being correlated with several kinds of satellite image data—on weather, aerosol and ozone content in the atmosphere, and other variables—as well as ground radar information about local atmospheric conditions. Armed with the ability to forecast accurately, utility companies and policymakers will be able to invest confidently in California’s abundant solar energy opportunities.